New NATO Partnership Policy

Agreed by the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, 15 April 2011





I.  Introduction

1. Over the past two decades, NATO has reached out to partners to help build cooperative security together. The results have proven the value, and the importance, of this broad cooperation. NATO’s partnerships make a clear and valued contribution to Allied security, to international security more broadly and to defending and advancing the values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, on which the Alliance is based. Commitment to these values remains fundamental to NATO’s partnership policy. Allies and partners remain committed to fulfil in good faith the obligations of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Alliance’s partner relationships are based on reciprocity, mutual benefit and mutual respect.

2. Building on the 2010 Strategic Concept and the decisions taken at the Lisbon Summit, the aim of this policy is to substantially deepen and broaden NATO’s partnerships, and increase their effectiveness and flexibility, in order to enhance their contribution to Euro-Atlantic and international security in the 21st Century.

3. This policy will ensure that partners will play a fuller role than ever before in the development and implementation of cooperative activities and approaches with NATO and amongst partners. The North Atlantic Council will retain its primary role in shaping, deciding and implementing all aspects of this partnership policy.

II.  Strategic objectives

4. The strategic objectives of NATO’s partner relations will be, without any indication of priority ranking, to:

  • Enhance Euro-Atlantic and international security, peace and stability;
  • Promote regional security and cooperation;
  • Facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation on issues of common interest, including international efforts to meet emerging security challenges;
  • Prepare interested eligible nations for NATO membership;
  • Promote democratic values and reforms;
  • Enhance support for NATO-led operations and missions;
  • Enhance awareness on security developments including through early warning, with a view to preventing crises;
  • Build confidence, achieve better mutual understanding, including about NATO’s role and activities, in particular through enhanced public diplomacy.

III.  Priority areas for dialogue, consultation and cooperation

5.  Dialogue, consultation and cooperation will be prioritised in the following areas, as appropriate:

  • Political consultations on security developments, as appropriate, including regional issues, in particular with a view to preventing crises and contributing to their management
  • Cooperation in NATO-led operations and missions;
  • Defence reform, capability and capacity building, education and training;
  • Interoperability;
  • Counter-terrorism;
  • Counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery;
  • Emerging security challenges, including related to cyber-defence, energy security and maritime security, including counter-piracy;
  • Civil emergency planning.

6.  Other areas of common interest could be also addressed, as necessary, in accordance with Allies’ and partners’ mutual interests and based on a decision of the NAC.

IV.  Enhanced partnerships

7. Existing partnership frameworks – the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council/Partnership for Peace (EAPC/PfP), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) – will be further developed, while preserving their specificity. The basic objectives and principles of these frameworks, including the EAPC Basic Document and the PfP Framework Document, will remain valid. All partners from the EAPC/PfP, the MD and the ICI, both in their respective frameworks and individually, as well as partners across the globe having a partnership programme with NATO, will be offered deeper political and practical engagement, with the Alliance in a spirit of joint ownership and mutual understanding. In doing so, NATO will consider individual needs, circumstances and aspirations of each partner. This offer will include:

a. Enhanced political consultation on security issues of common concern.

i.  In this context, the Alliance will be open to consultation on issues of particular security interest to partners. These consultations will not duplicate conflict resolution processes in other international fora. The NAC will retain the authority to agree to each of these consultations.

b. Strengthened practical cooperation.

i. The Alliance will develop policy approaches to common challenges, including emerging security challenges, together with partners, building on valuable work already undertaken, including on non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament; to promote democratic reform, in particular reform in the defence sector; to combat human trafficking; and to support the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women peace and security.

c. Support for defence education, training and capacity building, within existing resources.

i. NATO will offer enhanced support to interested partners to develop their defence education and training capacities;

ii. NATO will provide support to promoting the transformation of interested partners’ defence systems, including their militaries, to help them to better manage their security challenges, and to be able to operate better with NATO forces;

iii. NATO will widen and strengthen its existing network that supports the development and transformation of partners’ professional military education and training capabilities;

iv. NATO will offer to interested partners assistance in developing their capabilities to build capacity in their region;

v. NATO welcomes partner contributions to education, training and capacity building for Allies and partners alike. This cooperation will continue, including through regular consultations and the development of joint activities.

V.   More operational partnerships

8. As directed by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon, the reviewed Political-Military Framework for Partner Involvement in NATO-led Operations establishes a structural role for NATO’s operational partners in shaping strategy and decisions on NATO-led operations to which they contribute. It also outlines modalities for pre- and post-crisis consultations with partners, as appropriate.

VI.  International Organisations

9. The Alliance is committed to pursuing its efforts towards enhancing its relations with other relevant international organisations in accordance with the Strategic Concept, the Lisbon Summit Declaration and the Comprehensive Approach Action Plan. In our cooperation, we will pursue the following objectives, as appropriate:

  • Play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security;
  • Engage actively before, during and after crises to encourage collaborative analysis, planning and conduct of activities on the ground, in order to maximise coherence and effectiveness of the overall international effort;
  • Increase support for training and regional capacity building.

VII.   Wider engagement

10. NATO is prepared to develop political dialogue and practical cooperation with any nation across the globe that shares our interest in peaceful international relations. The Alliance will therefore:

  • Engage, on decision of the NAC, with key global actors and other new interlocutors beyond the Euro-Atlantic area with which NATO does not have a formal partnership arrangement. These contacts will be developed in a flexible and pragmatic manner;
  • Encourage dialogue with these countries on regional security issues of common interest, including in order to, if possible, forestall impending crises;
  • Focus engagement with these countries on the priority areas identified in this policy.

VIII.   Enhancing consultations in flexible formats

11. The “28+n” formula provides a mechanism for consultations and, as appropriate, cooperation in flexible formats across and beyond existing frameworks. This mechanism can be thematic or event-driven and will develop through practice, as part of a process to enhance NATO’s partnerships. It will be used on a case by case basis to enhance consultation on security issues of common concern and cooperation in priority policy areas, including related to emerging security challenges, without detriment to the specificity of existing frameworks and meetings in those frameworks and with individual partners.

  • NATO will consider requests from partners for consultations and cooperation in flexible formats;
  • The NAC will approve the subject of any such meeting and its participants; and will ensure transparency to other partners.

IX.   Other tools and mechanisms of cooperation

12. In line with the decision of Heads of State and Government in Lisbon, NATO will streamline its partnership tools in order to open all cooperative activities and exercises to partners and to harmonise partnership programmes.

13. To this end, the Alliance, in consultation with partners, will establish a single Partnership Cooperation Menu and a tailored Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP) as an entry-level programme available to all partners. The Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and Planning and Review Process (PARP) will also be opened to partners beyond the EAPC/PfP, on a case by case basis and on decision of the NAC.

14. NATO, in consultation with partners, will continue to make full use of other partnership tools and mechanisms, in particular by:

  • Extending the network of its Contact Point Embassies;
  • Inviting all partners to establish Missions to NATO;
  • Promoting Trust Funds;
  • Cooperation through the Science for Peace and Security Programme.

15. Partnership tools and mechanisms, as well as individual activities, will be reviewed regularly through a feedback mechanism, to ensure they meet current needs and are appropriately resourced, and to discard activities which are no longer relevant.

X.   Prioritising NATO’s resources for partnership objectives

16. In order to allocate NATO’s limited resources for partnership objectives effectively, the Alliance will take the following set of considerations into account:

  • Whether the partner concerned aspires to join the Alliance;
  • Whether the partner in question shares the values on which NATO is based and, where appropriate, is engaged in defence and larger reforms based on these values;
  • Whether the partner concerned supports militarily, politically, financially or otherwise NATO’s ongoing operations and missions or NATO’s efforts to meet new security challenges;
  • Whether the partner is of special strategic importance for NATO;
  • Whether the partner has a special and developed bilateral cooperation framework with the Alliance;
  • The capacity of the partner to finance its cooperative activities with NATO;
  • Whether the cooperative activity is in accordance with the priority areas as outlined in this policy.

17. The allocation of resources will be continuously reviewed and adjusted as appropriate, in accordance with NATO policies and existing capabilities, in order to ensure their most efficient use.

XI.  Conclusion

18. This partnership policy was developed in close consultation with partners and in a spirit of joint ownership to enhance our cooperation and our shared security.